Host Family Program Participants Write Cards to Sick Children, Parents at Cardinal
About 55 students and families took part in the host family program’s service project
on Thursday, Oct. 20, to write cards to sick children and their parents at Cardinal
Glennon Children’s Medical Center.
The office of international services sponsored the service project, which was the
first time for the host family program group to spearhead the activity. The goal was
to bring hope to the children in the hospital and their families.
"[The activity] was new for me and I got a good experience,” said Andrea Fernandez
De La Morena, an international student in Parks College. “I felt very well, imagining
how could be the child's face while seeing my drawings (some animals in the jungle
with support phrases such as: ‘You're strong!’ or ‘Don't forget how awesome you are!’). It
took me some minutes to draw, and their smiles don't have price. I'd do the same again
For international students, engaging in service is a way to learn more about different
cultures, improve communication skills and build community with fellow students as
well as residents of the greater St. Louis region, said Leah Sweetman, Ph.D., assistant
director for service-learning in the Center for Service and Community Engagement and
participant in the host family program.
“We can all relate to a time when a loved one was seriously ill and in the hospital,”
Sweetman said. “Having students write cards to the children and their families is
a compassionate project that can bring some joy at a time when things are otherwise
tough. Because service permeates the mission and culture of Saint Louis University,
it only makes sense that our international students participate in that formative
experience as well.”
Find more information about the host family program online, or contact Lulu Dong, Ph.D., international adviser, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-977-4082.